Daikon which means large (dai) root (kon), is variety of radish found in Japan and other parts of Asia. It is also known as white radish, Oriental radish, Chinese radish or Mooli (Hindi). Daikon or Raphanus sativus belongs to same family of red radish and other cruciferous vegetables like broccoli or cabbage. Native to Mediterranean region, daikon is common in Japan and China. Daikon root is white and carrot shaped. Flavor of daikon is less intense than red radish. Daikon can be eaten raw or cooked as vegetables. Radish along with tofu and cabbage is popular healthy food. Just like Americans believe that apple a day would keep doctor away, a Chinese proverb says, “Eating pungent radish and drinking hot tea, let the starved doctors beg on their knees.”
Nutritional Value of Daikon Radish
Daikon radish is excellent diet food. A serving of 100 gram of Daikon raw radish offers just 18 calories. Even half of the carbohydrate it offers is in form of dietary fiber. Daikon radish is very good hydrating food. Nearly 90% of raw radish by weight is comprised of water. Daikon radish offers very good source of vitamin C. A single long radish is sufficient to meet daily dietary requirement of Vitamin C in an adult. It also offers other water soluble vitamins including – Folate, Riboflavin, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Niacin and Pantothenic Acid. Daikon offers rich amount of minerals like Potassium and copper. It also offers other minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Further, it offers other micronutrient like beta carotene, zea-xanthin, indoles and other flavonoids, most of them are antioxidant in nature. Like other vegetables in its family, it contains isothiocynate and sulforaphane which have potential anti-cancer properties.
Health benefits of Daikon
Daikon radish like red radish has been popularly consumed as vegetables. However it offers several nutrients which are beneficial for our body. Some health benefits of daikon are discussed below.
Daikon and Cancer Prevention
Most cruciferous vegetables are considered good in cancer prevention. This is due ot phytonutrients which act as antioxidant and protect body from damage of free radical which may cause mutation and cancer. Daikon also helps in detoxifying body with harmful toxins. It helps liver and kidney functions in removal of such harmful chemicals.
Daikon are rich in Vitamin C which is powerful antioxidant. Daikon further contains high levels of glucoraphenin, which breaks down to form sulphoraphene. Sulforaphane induces detoxifying enzymes in body and is considered potent in inhibiting growth of cancer cells. It is considered useful in prevention of prostate, breast, colon and ovarian cancers. Concentration of glucoraphenin is highest in seed while decreases as plant grow. ‘Cherry Belle’ and ‘French Breakfast’ are varieties of daikon with highest glucoraphenin levels. Another study concludes that Kaiware Daikon extract is a naturally multipotent chemopreventive agent. It is because of this detoxifying and anti-cancer properties daikon is used in treatment of leucoderma. Daikon seed are powdered and mixed with ginger and lime juice. This is applied on white patches as home remedy over leucoderma.
Anti-Inflammatory property of Daikon
Studies have shown presence of nutrients in daikon to exhibit high level of anti-inflammatory action. Vitamin C is one such nutrient which helps in reduction of chronic inflammation. Raw daikon juice is considered good for respiratory health. It reduces phlegm from body and removes congestion by clearing sinuses. It prevents from infections leading to respiratory diseases. It is effective in treating bronchitis, asthma and sore throat. Daikon relieves inflammation from fevers. Drinking daikon juice is considered home remedy for fever and fighting infections.
Daikon aids digestion
Daikon is rich in enzymes which aids in body metabolism and digestive functions. Including daikon as part of meal is good for digestion. Japanese folk medicine used carrot and daikon juice increase fat metabolism and reduces fat deposition in body. Daikon has ample quantity of water and helps to keep our body hydrated. Along with minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium it also helps to keep our electrolytic balance in body. Proper hydration also aids in body digestion and ensures proper absorption of nutrients from food. Daikon aids in secretion of digestive juices including bile. Daikon is rich in dietary fibers. This aids in proper movement of food in digestive tract and also aids in bowel movements. It relieves symptoms of constipation and is helpful in treating piles.
Daikon supports urinary function
Daikon is diuretic in nature and helps kidneys remove excess water. This helps in treating various urinary disorder. Daikon juice is considered home remedy for curing kidney inflammation and burning sensation during urination. It helps in removal of toxins from kidney and prevents their accumulation in kidney. Diakon as antimicrobial agent also prevents infection to urinary system.
Daikon good for liver and gallbladder
Daikon is extremely beneficial for your liver and gallbladder. It assists in liver functions. It regulates secretion of bile and other enzymes. A study found that glucoraphenin present in dakion induces enzymes in liver which helps in removing cancer forming chemicals from body. Regular intake of daikon helps to protect liver and gall bladder from infection and other disorders. Daikon juice is considered home remedy for jaundice in some countries.
Daikon for bone health
With ample amount of calcium, daikon leaves are considered good for promoting bone health and their growth. Regular intake of daikon and daikon leaves help in reducing risk of osteoporosis in women.
Daikon and weight Loss
In Japan it is believed that daikon juice can help you burn fat from body. It does contain various enzymes which aids in fat metabolism and prevents accumulation in body. Daikon itself is low on fats and sodium. Majority of carbohydrate in daikon is in form of dietary fibers. Daikon is extremely hydrating and offers various vitamin and minerals. This makes it excellent food for weight loss diet. It is often part of various salads and soups.
Daikon for heart conditions
Daikon offers nutrients which are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in nature. It is considered helpful for keeping your heart and circulatory system healthy. Regular intake of daikon can reduce risk of cardio vascular system disorders. Daikon regulates blood pressure and helps in removal of toxins from blood. Thus including daikon in food is good for heart health.
Daikon and treatment of diabetes
Daikon is extremely hydrating and fiber rich food. This makes it good for diabetes. It offers low glycemic index and does not impact blood sugar levels. It offers various enzymes which helps in proper metabolism of food. As an antioxidant food, it reduces risk of developing diabetes.
Benefits of daikon for skin
With rich sulphur content, makes daikon good for treating skin infections. Topical use of daikon in treating skin infections is common. It helps in reducing inflammation of skin. It heals insect bites and stings. It reduces pain and swelling in case of insect bite. Daikon helps in detoxify body and thus prevents acne, boils and other skin eruptions. It is offers clear skin. Applying smashed daikon to skin is good homemade face pack.
Daikon contains rich in copper which is essential for pigmentation of skin. Along with other minerals like zinc, it works in protecting skin from aging. Along with Vitamin C, copper and zinc, daikon helps in development of connecting tissue and thus keeps skin elastic. Daikon are good hydrating agents. Thus it keeps body and skin well hydrated. It is useful in case of dry skin.
Hair benefits of daikon
Daikon offers minerals essential for pigmentation of skin. Vitamin C is essential in skin growth and health. Regular intake of diakon in diet can prevent hair fall and other hair problems. Drinking daikon juice is believed to stimulate hair growth. Daikon juice can also be used as homemade shampoo for cleaning your hair and protecting scalp from infections.
Antimicrobial action of daikon
High sulphur content in Daikon makes it good antiseptic and antimicrobial agent. Phytochemicals like Raphanin and isothiocynate have been isolated from daikon root, which are believed to have antibacterial action. Raw daikon juice has ability to combat bacterial and viral infections. It is effective in treating respiratory diseases like cold and flu.
Daikon for immunity
Daikon is rich in Vitamin C, which is considered good for immune system. A single daikon root provides enough vitamin C to meet daily dietary requirement of an adult. Including vitamin C rich daikon serving in diet helps keep you protected from diseases and increase immunity. Anti microbial action of daikon also keeps you free from bacterial and viral infections.
Healthy Daikon recipes
Takuan (沢庵) or takuwan or takuan-zuke is made from pickling daikon. It forms part of traditional Japanese recipes and enjoyed at end of meal to improve digestion. Danmuji (단무지) as it is called in Korea is also served as side dish. Making Takuwan is simple. Allow some 4-5 long daikon to dehydrate. Wash and peel them off and cut in short slices. Mix 3 tbsp salt along with 4 cups of sugar and a cup of vinegar, stir well. Now add sliced daikon to the mixture and mix again so that daikon slice soak the mixture. Keep this mixture overnight so that daikon are sort of marinated. Keep this mixture in air tight glass jars. Place this jars in sunlight for about a week. This initiates pickling in daikon. Your Takuwan is ready in couple of weeks..
Were the amazing benefits of daikon hard to digest? Well, consider including diakon in your diet and see yourselves how great it works for your body and health.Image Credits: Wikimedia user - Earth100, Wikimedia - Robin, Wikimedia - Miansari66